"There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken… It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, and the disillusioned… Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness… the radical message of transforming love has been given to the church"
~ Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership
During our (almost) 3 years of marriage we are on our 3rd hunt for a church. Let me tell you - this is NOT a fun process for me.
We decided to leave church #1 6 months into our marriage - it took us another 6 months of trying many different churches before we found one that we liked and could agree with what they taught. We tried probably 10+ different churches. Most were non-denom churches. Some were pretty down right SCARY! Prophesying, random screaming of words, just to name a few of the crazy things we came across. But finally we found one that had good solid Bible teaching as well as ministries for us to serve in as well as be ministered to. We were very excited - and then Brian lost his job and we moved to Missouri.
Enter Hunt #2
This hunt started in October 2009 We started visiting churches in the Columbia MO area whenever I went and visited Brian (remember we were still living apart at this time). This time was a little easier because we knew what we were looking for, we knew what to look out for and what "words" drew red flags for us. After I moved to MO in March 2010 we really got serious about looking for a church - and finally decided on a church in September 2010 - again it took us 6 months to decide. But once we made a decision we knew it was the right one (funny - we choose the first church we ever visited). We felt like we had found a home. The people there welcomed us with open arms and accepted us - it was GREAT to have a church family again! We jumped in with both feet and got involved :)
Sadly just a few short months later Brian took a new job causing us to enter....
This hunt has been much harder since we were part of such a great church in Missouri. And the lack of churches in the area doesn't help either. We've only been on this hunt for a little over a month and a half (we took a 3 week break due to us being out of town & travel). The first church we visited was fairly large - it "looks good" on the outside - you know all the right ministries, decent worship etc... but the preaching was lacking - it was a good 45 minute introduction - but it never went anywhere. And it was this way each time we visited. We went to church #2 and I almost fell asleep during the music portion of the service - then a guest pastor got up and yelled and screamed about something for an hour - I never did understand why he was so angry (they didn't have a pastor at the time either). We then tried church #3 (on the same Sunday as church #2 no less) and it was actually decent. The music was good, the preaching was good - but it didn't feel like home. So we tried church #4 today and well we walked out 5 minutes into the service starting. The music started and I had to bite my tongue, my cheeks and even my lips to stop myself from laughing out loud - I think they just let anyone who wants to get on stage get up there - it was a little scary! People were dancing in the aisles - and I was afraid they were going to start healing people and slapping them on the heads - yeah...not the type of church we were looking for (this was a church we took a chance on - they had NO doctrine information on their website) - so we ended up heading to church #3 for today's message. We have one more church to visit next week and then we'll have to choose - we are running out of options!
This hunt is just something that I do not enjoy - but I KNOW the end result will be good. I LOVE the feeling of a good church family - friends and a community of fellow believers - it's such a good thing! So here's to looking at ONE more church and then HOPEFULLY getting settled.....hopefully.